Joseph Campbell on Marriage

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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carnelian
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Post by carnelian » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I posted this under Anima/Animus but it seems appropriate here.
When you're young, you project your inner mate onto another person. That's automatic, unconscious. You can't help it; it happens. You fall helplessly in love the first time bacause you're in love with your own projection. Gradually, you recognize there is a being inside you that is your own other half, someone quite different from the man or woman you love out there. But that realization doesn't come until much later; you have to go through a whole series of projections, each time recognizing more of yourself...

Gradually, it gets through to you that it's not the other person you're in love with but part of your own self that you're projecting onto that person. It's those projected parts of ourself that we have to pull back...

That is the most painful, agonizing process in the world. Because you have to recognize that what you thought was out there in another person is not out there, but inside yourself. Most people experience pulling back a projection as isolation, as being cut off from the outer world. But if you have loved a man and you have projected your inner god onto him, you have to recognize that he isn't a god after all. The real god is inside. You have to recognize the illusions, the delusions and the the pain of human limitation. Then gradually it dawns on you what a huge mistake you've made.

When you're able to recognize that it's your god you've been projecting, or in a man's case, goddess, you learn to hold that divinity within. Then you're able to ask yourself, "Do I love that human being?" And you may find out that you do. That this man is sharing the journey with you, and he's put up with (dare I say) all your shit (that's how dreams image it) and you've put up with his, and there the two of you are, walking through life together. There's something noble in his suffering. There's something noble in your own suffering. You're not leaning on each other. You're walking parallel paths; you're not holding each other up. That's a marvelous thing, to love another human being like that.
(Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity p.122& 123)
Susie, I heard something at a workshop this past weekend that made me think -- hard. It was the concept of reframing a relationship. As I understand it, it's a little bit like looking at a relationship in a different light -- finding another way to describe what's going on. I'm just now trying to figure out what that would mean for me -- or if I even want to do it. But it is a powerful idea, and one worth passing along, I think.

Marion Woodman, who is a Jungian analyst, has some other wonderful observations about marriage. I'll share them when I find them.
"Body without spirit is corpse; spirit without body is ghost" -- Marion Woodman quoting Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
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Post by Lizpete » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

As an unmarried person, I've wondered if the projection or the fantasy is necessary, at least, to the begining of the marriage.
All human wisdom is contained in these words: wait and hope. Alexandre Dumas <br>America: The call that every generation must improve itself. *Member Generation &quot;X&quot;*
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Post by IcedGoddess » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

liminal,
My views on marriage aren't the brightest either. I was married very young to a man who I still have a great connection with. But as a "couple" we we're harsh and judgemental of each other, neither willing to compromise or make even the tiniest of adjustments for the other. I at one point thought he was my other half, but years later, realized he was infact holding me back, however unintentionally, from finding my self.

I've never really been "single" until after I had my daughter, and most every "relationship" I've had since has been 90% physical, and probably nothing else. I've finally gotten to the point that I could care less about the physical aspects of a relationship. And now would love to find that person who would be the yang for my yin (so to speak). That would share my interests in art, science, and religion/theology/myth. And that could banter with me intelectually, and not just be compatible physically. I don't expect to find this person, but hope that my path (or his) might lead us together one day. I do still feel that marriage is something I would like to try again. My first was a huge flop, and until a couple years ago I said NO WAY, to the idea of doing it again. But if my other half should decide to show up one day, I won't hesitate to join in the partnership of marriage. As long as it is seen as that by both sides, because marriage is a partnership, give and take, and yes, "sacrifice". But sacrifice because you want to, not because the relationship demands it.
IcedGoddess<br>A.K.A. Dianne Parsons<br>http://castleserpents.com<br>http://icedgoddess.com<br>"You cannot depend on your Judgement, when your Imagination is out of Focus."<br>Sam Clemens
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Post by Liminal » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2003-06-07 12:14, IcedGoddess wrote:
My first was a huge flop, and until a couple years ago I said NO WAY, to the idea of doing it again. But if my other half should decide to show up one day, I won't hesitate to join in the partnership of marriage.
If I may inject an opinion, I believe that relationship compatibility is a pre-existing potential in every person. It's all about who you are at that time and who they are at that time. I'd guess that most of us have felt that "chemistry" when this potential runs both ways and is allowed to be perceived. I don't think there's a thing in the world either side can do to force themselves to be more or less compatible, it's a basic resonance of two souls. But it's important that we remember that who we are changes in every moment of our lives. And this means that our compatibility with any given person changes in every moment, as well. Sometimes changes run more or less parallel and a great compatibility can run for years and years. Sometimes a compatibility will absolutely perfect this month and nearly non-existent the next.

The point of all that being that there are many people out there who may be able to become your "other half" and that how well each of those will match with you will change as you (and they) change.

May your relationships will be bountiful and beautiful.

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Liminal
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Alanis Morissette - Utopia - under rug swept
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Post by Lizpete » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hmmmmmmm, I think I disagree a little.
it's important that we remember that who we are changes in every moment of our lives.
Every moment? I'm not sure we change every moment or that "the change" is so severe as to make one incompatible with others over a long period of time. We might be growing every moment and hopefully learning every moment- that kind of change seems more gentle and open to having someone else join in.

I think the changes- or growth that we each undergo perhaps need to be managed (together and separately.) And that's the hard part- understanding yourself, your "shortcomings" and improving on yourself. Then you add on someone else doing the same thing and the 'burden' of supporting them in those changes and its a daunting set of tasks for any mortal. It seems to come down to finding the right person that can manage it all most of the time (no one is perfect) and with whom you have that magic mix of chemistry.

My grandma used to say "Marry in haste, repent in leisure." (I actually think that applies to doing life in general...)


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Post by SkiaOura » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Thanks everyone for your posts on this thread.

This is my third year in the longest relationship of my 21 year long life, and I am trying hard to figure out all the questions presented in this thread. Like Susie, I am living with a man who is my opposite in many regards, and like Susies mate mine would fall asleep after 30 second in front of anything spiritual or psychological or... well, anything that I care about really. We have a hard time finding things to do together, and sometimes I envy the couples that have many shared interests.
Nevertheless, I love my fiancé. Much of the time, I treasure everything that I learn from him about life. You all know what I mean, I think. Not the things you can read, but the things you can only exeperience, like empathy and patience, responsibility and life choices.

Something that is bothering me is the question of compatability that has been raised more than once already in this thread. How do I know that we are compatible for ever? How does this deal work? And my comfort comes in similar words that someone here already stated: Whatever happens, this is worth it. I wouldn´t feel right about doing anything different.

Someone else wrote about how one projects parts of oneself on ones mate. I have come to a point where I know that I am projecting my childhood relationships, and parts of myself in other ways as well. But I am not yet at the point where I can stop and just see my mate as who he is. This is frightening me a little, and I am afraid that my own immaturity might ruin so much that is so valuable to me.

Before I met my fiancé, I had several of those short "soul-mate" relationships as a teenager. But when I met the man I am marrying, I seriously felt like God told me this was right. And I don´t even believe that there is a personal god that can do that. :wink: That feeling has wained a little, probably mostly due to my diminished meditation practice, but the memory of it and the occasional burst of this light in my heart when I think about my relationship, helps me through so many doubts and fears.

The quotes from Campbell posted here, especially the one about marriage being an ordeal, have made so many puzzle-pieces fall into place. Now it makes sense. I was so scared that love was gone when the initial passion had dried up, but now I see better what it is all about.

Thank you Tree Hugger, and every one else, for writing here and sharing of your thoughts and experience.
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Post by Liminal » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2003-06-17 18:48, SkiaOura wrote:
Something that is bothering me is the question of compatability that has been raised more than once already in this thread. How do I know that we are compatible for ever?
The answer: You don't.

You may be compatible for the rest of your lives. You may be compatible for the rest of the month. The future is not ours to promise, not even to ourselves.

What I do know is that trying to force it to be forever is one of the fastest ways to ensure that it won't be. If I may offer advice, let it be what it is and treasure it for exactly that.

--
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"I'm not aware of too many things. I know what I know, if you know what I mean. Do you?"
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Post by Scarlett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello everyone!

SkiaOuro, I too had a wonderful connection when I met my husband...and something, 'god' my heart, my animus...whatever, was telling me this person is the one for you. And although the 'romantic' feelings may not be as vivid as they were in the beginning, it is helpful to remember them! (Especially, when I'm annoyed!)

On a more serious note I recently read the book: DESTRUCTIVE EMOTIONS: HOW CAN WE OVERCOME THEM? It was a scientific dialogue with the Dalai Lama narrated by Daniel Goleman.

In the book, one of the people attending the sessions asked the Dalai Lama for advice on avoiding destructive emotions in romantic love. This is what he told her:
He (Dalai Lama) had given some surprising advice: to envision the negative aspects of the person you're involved with, to bring them off the pedestal of idealization to make the other more human. That way, he said, your expectations from the other person will be more realistic, and you'll be less likely to feel let down by what they do. He also advised that love needs to go beyond simple attraction to include mutual respect and friendship.


The book is really fascinating although its main focus is not romantic love. But one of the ladies presenting (Jeanne L. Tsai) went on to say that in her studies between european american and chinese america couples, most claimed that jealosy was an issuse! I think in relationships, emotions that we don't necessarily want will arise! I think depending on how emotionally developed you and your partner may be...could be a key factor in determining how the relationship will develop.

Talk to you soon
Scarlett


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Post by Dave Spiro » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

This is a topic that I struggle with, as my wife and I are going thorugh a difficult time right now. much of it stemmed from the nightmare of my illness and subsequent liver transplant 6 years ago.

When Campbell describes marriage as an ordeal, he is not kidding. The idea of sacrificing to the relationship was somehting that we both had always done in the past, but the nightmare of my illness and life post transplant put tremendous strains on that ideal.

Why? The experience changed both of us. Being a transplant recipient changes you in ways that I cannot describe. Being a caregiver does the same thing. The problem with us became: Can our relationship survive what we have become?

I was forced to rebuild my psyche from the ground up. The immediate impact of all of this one me was my loss of my sense of self, of who I was, and what I wanted out of life. My wife was desperately loking for someone to "take care of her" as it seemed that the whole of the outside world was focused on me. I suppose it is normal for others to be concerned with the sick person, but the caregiver often gets left out of the picture.When my wife turned to me for that, I simply could not do it. I told her that I can;t even take care of myself, howe can i care for her? I didn't mean this in a physical sense, but in an emotional one.

While I am in a far better place these days, the scars still run deep in our relationship. This is the one area I have never seen discussed in any of prof. Joe's teachings. What happens when external pressures become so great, that they imnpact on the relationship in such a way as to shatter it? Sacrificing to the relationship is a fine ideal, but what happens when it means sacrificing one's own sense of being as well? These arethequestions i struggle with. BTW, bot of us are in counseling, but only time will tell I suppose.
"I have a very good understanding with God. I don't understand him, he doesn't understand me." - George Carlin
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scarlett

Post by Scarlett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I think it says a lot that you are trying to work things out with your wife. I wish the best for you and your wife. Hopefully, this is a time of growth that will lead you to greater wisdom.

Scarlett
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Post by sladeb » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Okay, here is my two cents worth on this issue. My wife and I have been married for nearly 20 years and together for nearly 22. I won't say that it has all been smooth sailing - far from it. However, as we have gone down the yaesr, added children etc, we have found strength in the challenges that have come our way. We have been through infertility treatments, severe illness and the challenges of raising two adopted children. Key to our success though is that we have walked the road of changese togeteher. Rather than turn to others to talk out our difficulties - we turned to each other. So often you see people who try to resolve their marital difficulties by talking to their friends - instead of talking to their partner. I can honestly say that my wife is my best friend.

Of all the challenges we have been through together though, the greatest was dumping our Mormon preconditioning and opening to the much larger world. But we walked the road of exploration together. We rebuilt our cognitive frameworks together. We are still both individuals, but the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us.

Skiaoura: Let me simply say that a wise person once said that the fear of failure is never so powerful as the fear of regret.

Life brings opportunities once - and when you come to the end of your mortal existence will you look back with regret and wonder how life could have been...
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Post by philspar2 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Anyone heard of the theory that we change every seven years ? Apparently this has been backed up by science as its been discovered that we have nearly all our cells replaced every seven years. We are literally different people every seven years.

I wonder if this is the cause for the common expression "seven year itch" ? I think even Paul McCartney mentions somewhere that all his big life changes: wives, diet (vegetarianism), bands happen on seven year boundaries.

I know that I could objectively view all my own major life changes as happening every seven years. I met and married my wife on one of these boundaries and noticed that the strain on our relationship in our seventh year of marriage had nothing really to do with our relationship changing, but rather with my own massive lifestyle changes.

This has led me to concoct my own personal superstition about the length of relationships - We must reconsider each other from time to time to make sure that the person we are with is someone that we would now find compatible. Seven years earlier (I use seven here metaphorically) two people may have been perfectly suited to each other, but now are two totally different and incompatible beings.

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Post by Scarlett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

philspar2....what an interesting theory that we change every seven years. I certainly believe we change or grow as individuals.

However, it must be a wonderful treasure to find a companion that gives you unconditional love throughout the seasons of life...and how wonderful to give unconditional love in return.

Alas, this I find is not an easy task...but certainly a glorious one!

A women's song from the Osage of the Great Plains, the narrator grieves for lost love --- taken from the book,
SPIDER WOMAN'S WEB

Change is inevitable...hopefully it makes us strong and compassionate.
The appearance of things changes according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.
--- Kahlil Gibran






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Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I find these quotes from an earlier poster inspiring and frightening all at once:

Skiaoura: Let me simply say that a wise person once said that the fear of failure is never so powerful as the fear of regret.
Life brings opportunities once - and when you come to the end of your mortal existence will you look back with regret and wonder how life could have been...[/quote]

I have just ended my marriage/relationship of 30 years and have struggled with questions of identity and sorting out who I really am from who I tried to be to please this man. Though we had lived apart for several years and I know that the divorce was essential for the survival of my psyche, nevertheless the whole ending was tinged with sadness and regret. I spent all my adult life (till recently) with this man - our son is an adult. Leaving and beginning to rebuild my life has taken so many sacrifices on my part that I hardly notice them any more.

One of the most immediate changes that took place after leaving what had be come a belittling and criticizing relationship was to begin exploring my spirituality. I had always been a religion "shopper" and observer, always eschewing the one I was born into and larding my "search" with cynicism. Yet I had been yearning for a larger meaning in my life since I was a child. I so wanted to drop the cynical pose that was isolating me from other people and from my own inner light. My ex-husband would have considered it disloyal - and weak - to be otherwise. Besides, he had a great fear of people, well hidden under bravado.

Leaving, I felt safe enough from his judgement to begin exploring those "big" questions. Ironically, he was the person who introduced me to Joseph Campbell. I even bought him the "Myth" series. But, through my own search, I feel I am blending my religious impulse with an exploration of myth and feel a greater connection to life, and to people as a result.

I have even been lucky enough to form a relationship with a man who is trying to sort out his life with Campbell and Jung as guides.

Will we be brave enoug to build new spiritual and personal lives after the hurt and failure we've experienced in our marriages? Time will tell, but I would never go back to being the cool "outsider" to inner life I once posed as.

Would appreciate recommendations of specific readings to guide me in the second part of my journey.

Sorry this is so long-winded. Thanks for any suggestions.




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Post by Titian » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The above posting is mine. I goofed somehow, and my name was left off.
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